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Teachers - come talk to me about teaching please

(25 Posts)
giddykipper Mon 21-Sep-09 12:47:24

Thinking of a career change into probably primary teaching. I currently work 4 days per week as an accountant and would really like to spend more time with DS. I have a degree so would be looking at a pgce. I'm going to try to get some work experience at the local school to give me a better idea of what teaching life is really about, but is there anything you think I should know/consider? Do you find it rewarding? Would you go into it again if you had your time around? If you have left the profession, why?

Thanks.

KembleTwins Mon 21-Sep-09 12:51:52

I do it, and I love it. I'm secondary though. Am currently on a career break, but fully intend to go back once my twins start school themselves.

Doing a placement of some kind is a very good idea - try to get lots of experience of different teachers and their styles. It will give you an idea of what to expect, and also will be something good and solid to write about on your application or to talk about in interview. Try to have good reasons ready concerning why now is the time you want to change direction - rather than it just being about spending more time with your son. Yes, the holidays are good, but it's high pressure and there is a lot of work, outside of school hours. I used to work at a school where the deputy head, a mum of two, used to joke that Mother's Day was the only day in the year she could fully devote to being a mother, as she was so snowed under the rest of the time. She was an absolute exception though grin

One other thing I would say is to look into doing a GTP rather than a PGCE - work-based training may suit you more than a return-to-the-lecture-theatre approach.

giddykipper Mon 21-Sep-09 13:20:41

Thanks Kemble, I will look into GTP.

I am used to long hours, stressful work and taking work home, so I should be ok there. I fully expect there to be lots of planning etc. At the moment, when DS starts school he will have to be in after school club until I get home and I don't really want him to have to do that. I'm really starting to now resent the fact that he's in nursery and I'm at work.

My motivation isn't just about that though, I want a more rewarding job. Spending time with him has made me realise how rewarding it is to help kids learn and how much I enjoy engaging with littlies (which is why I'm unsure about secondary teaching, I don't have the experience and I don't know how well I would engage with them).

sarararararah Mon 21-Sep-09 14:42:13

I'm a teacher and LOVE IT! Would never, ever consider doing anything else and would do the same again definitely if I had my time again. The job satisfaction is second to none (over all - we all have bad days!) and the feeling of helping children achieve the very best that they can is one you cannot explain. grin However, as in any job, there are negatives which you should be aware of (my mum's a teacher too so I didn't have rose tinted spectacles on when I went in to it).

1. The holidays are good with small children. However, don't think that all of the holidays is free time! There is always loads and loads of work to do in preparation for next term / half term. This time of the year is so manic you can't think straight. I always say that we don't get a proper break till Easter. October half term isn't long enough - always loads of work to do and by the time you've unwound it's back to school and Christmas holidays are busy, busy, busy too.
2. I think your DS would still have to go to after school club. I never leave school before 5 and am often there till 6. I think some people do manage to leave before then, but in the early years, most of the work you need to do has to be done in the classroom as there isn't much marking etc that you could take home.
3. Teaching isn't just about teaching anymore. You need to be a counsellor, social worker and sometimes policewoman too.
4. It's the MOST exhausting thing ever with so many little ones needing your attention all day and every day. The job is all consuming and very difficult to switch off from. You can't really have an off day, or an 'I can't be bothered day' or often, even sneak off to go to the loo!

However, these are the negatives. The positives are harder to quantify and difficult to describe without sounding gushy! But, I love the children, love my colleagues and love helping the parents to help their children too.

HTH a little and doesn't confuse the issue. By the way, think there are quite a lot of threads already about this so you could always do a search to get some more responses.

sarararararah Mon 21-Sep-09 14:43:30

Oh, btw, I job share which is why I can post at this time of the day. Now that is THE BEST arrangement. Job share and childcare share with you jobshare partner and you have the best of all worlds!

katiestar Mon 21-Sep-09 15:10:27

In think its VERY difficult to get a job in primary teaching at the moment though , something you might want to bear in mind !

thecloudhopper Mon 21-Sep-09 16:42:08

As a TA my advice is try before you buy as you may well go in and love it or you will hate it. To be a quality person in education I think you have to realy love the job as it rewarding, time consuming, and sometimes very challanging. I would also try spending time across the age ranges to see where you enjoy the most me for example I did 1 month placement as part of my BTEC in a year 3 class where I realy liked the teacher but I hated it i then concluded that juniors was not for me.

giddykipper Mon 21-Sep-09 21:12:09

Thanks all, your answers have been very useful.

I think I have maybe been a bit naive in thinking that I would be able to leave work at the end of the school day and work at home in the evening later. I can see it doesn't necessarily work like this, like any job I suppose.

I will get in touch with the local school I think and see if they will let me work shadow for a few days. It's the only way I will really find out for myself.

jennifersofia Mon 21-Sep-09 21:57:18

Rewarding, yes. Boring, never. Exhausting and all consuming, yes. Constantly changing, yes.

My work hours, leave house at 7:45,(dh or mil take kids into school/nursery) in work at 8:00, home at 5:15, (constantly frustrated that I can't stay later), kids to bed, etc. 8pm, dinner with dh 8:30, work 9-11/11:30.

As other poster pointed out - worth thinking about job availability. I think there will be big education cuts in the next couple of years, it would be a shame to train and not be able to get a job (though not necessarily saying that would be the case! Just worth thinking about / looking into).

Children are very interesting - I like spending time with them (mostly!)

Littlefish Mon 21-Sep-09 22:09:18

Giddy, I'm afraid there really is no way you will be able to leave at the end of the school day and get all your work done at home in the evening. I don't know any primary teachers at all (and only one secondary) who manage to do this. The earliest I have ever managed to leave is 5.00pm, and I get in to work at 7.30am.

Goblinchild Mon 21-Sep-09 22:34:18

You should also read all the threads here about conflicts between parents and schools and wonder if you want that sort of stress every day forever!

MrsGokWantstogocampingagain Mon 21-Sep-09 23:05:15

My DH leaves for work in his school at 7am, just as the DC's are getting up so he can say good morning to them. He gets home at 6/30/7.00 just in time to put them to bed. He has his dinner and then will work from about 8.30 to 11ish.

At the moment they think Ofsted is immenent so it is all hands on deck and everything has to be perfect, so it is manic.

Then there are things like parents evenings, when he won't get home till after 9pm and sometimes nearer 10pm.

Then you get the residential courses when they can be away for any where between 3 days and a week.

Most short holidays DH does work in hte evening and on the summer holidays he does a week plus prep for the next year.

Admit I'm a bit drunk but sarararararah I'm filling up after reading your post. Wish you taught my kids.

cat64 Mon 21-Sep-09 23:44:03

Message withdrawn

messalina Mon 21-Sep-09 23:56:10

I am a teacher (secondary, independent) and I would agree with the other posters that it is a hugely enjoyable and stimulating job which is presumably why we all keep on doing it. It is good with children in the sense that you do get to see your children twice a day. Yes, you won't leave when the school day does, but it's acceptable to leave at 5ish without anyone giving you strange looks. It is stressful managing all the tasks you have to complete. Three weeks into term and I have hardly seen my DH at the week-ends because I have spent them working (and he also sometimes works at the week-end). And as for holidays, I worked pretty much five weeks solid this holiday so DC had to go to nursery as usual.

MrsGokWantstogocampingagain Tue 22-Sep-09 09:09:06

I spoke to DH about this last night and he said one of the best bits of the job is knowing that you have inspired and encouraged a child who is struggling with something. He has left his last school in April for a promotional step into another school (both schools are/have been struggling and he has/was been taken on to help) He went back to his old school on the results days and he said the feeling he got when children were coming up to him to say "thank you Mrxxxx I got better than was predicted." and "you have inspired me to look at doing a science degree". He said with all the grief and hassle he gets that made it all worth while, those 2 days.

Berrie Tue 22-Sep-09 09:33:06

I really don't want to go back to full time teaching when my Dd starts school next year. It is an all consuming job and I would hate both my family life and my job to be compromised. I think that to do it properly takes an awful lot of time and commitment. Another thing to think about is that although you would need to train for only a year the first few years of teaching take even more hours as you learn on the job. I remember being up until 2 in the morning planning and making worksheets and I didn't have children. Having said that people do it, just be ready for it to be very hard.

sarararararah Tue 22-Sep-09 13:31:44

Awwww stripey, thanks! smileThat's made my day!

mrz Tue 22-Sep-09 18:25:30

Very rewarding I feel very lucky to be able to do a job I love but it can be very unfair on your own child as it demands so much of your time. Teaching isn't like other jobs it takes over your life... evenings, weekends and yes even those long holidays are spent working.

primarymum Tue 22-Sep-09 18:37:44

I agree, I LOVE teaching, being in the classroom is the best thing in the world for me, my children are a delight, my colleagues are superb,my Head is a friend as well as a boss and even the parents are ok
BUT I work VERY hard, I start at 7.30 and although I usually finish by 5 I almost always bring work home. One day at the weekend is taken up with marking, prep and the 1001 jobs we have to do, most days in the short holidays I do a few hours work and, although the long summer holiday is a godsend, I'm still to be found tapping away on a laptop most days! The paperwork even for basic classroom teachers ( if there is such a thing!) is horrendous and once you move higher up the scale it is relentless. Please don't think about teaching as a way to spend more time with your own children, you can't and you won't. But if teaching is something you really want to do for its own sake, then go for it!

primarymum Tue 22-Sep-09 18:38:50

( Oh and you can only take holidays out of term time and then you can't afford them!)

messalina Wed 23-Sep-09 20:56:07

Yes, I think primary school teachers have to work even harder in some ways. With secondary school pupils (well in a decent school), you can very occasionally set them a test or a fair bit of independent work to do if you are really, really busy and don't have time to prepare the lesson as thoroughly as you would like. I don't imagine you could do that in primary schools because they wouldn't sit still for long enough!

popsycal Wed 23-Sep-09 21:05:39

I agree wiith everything that has been said. on't goo into teaching ;'for the holidays' or withthe aimof getting to spend more timewith your own children

popsycal Wed 23-Sep-09 21:06:31

sorry brkenkeyboard

MrsGokWantstogocampingagain Wed 23-Sep-09 23:05:03

Sorry Poppy couldn't help laughing when I read that message. Nothing worse than a broken key board.

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